What Muscles Does Rollerblading Work?

a young businessman wearing roller blades and carrying a briefcase

Rollerblading, or inline skating, is a low-impact but effective compound exercise that works a variety of muscles. Much like ice skating, the primary muscles used to propel you forward are in your hips and legs. Rollerblading provides secondary benefits to stabilizer muscles in your abs and calves, but the main muscle groups targeted are your glutes, quads, hamstrings and other muscles in your thighs.

The Glutes

Your gluteal muscles -- comprising the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus -- are some of the largest and strongest stabilizing muscles in your body. When you skate, these muscles help in your hip extension and abduction. You extend your hip when you move your thigh backward to propel yourself forward, and abduct your hip when you extend your leg to the side to push off.

The Quadriceps

Your quadriceps are the long, powerful muscles that stretch down the front of your thigh from your pelvis to your kneecap, and they play a role in both hip and knee flexion. Every time you bring your leg forward you engage in hip flexion, bringing your thigh closer to your stomach. Your quads also work to extend and straighten your knee, which occurs just at the moment you push off.

The Hamstrings

Your hamstrings are the muscles that run down the back of your thigh, from your pelvis to your knee, and they activate when you flex your knee. Every time you bend your knee to take a stride forward or kick your foot back after pushing off an extended leg, your hamstrings contract.

The Hip Flexors

Your hip flexors, or iliopsoas, are the muscles that stretch from your lower spine, through your pelvis, and down to your thighs. They comprise two primary muscles: the iliacus and the psoas major. These muscles work to lift your thighs, contracting and releasing with every stride.

The Abductors and Adductors

Your abductors are the small muscles running down your outer thigh that work with the glutes to move your thigh outward. These muscles contract every time you extend your legs laterally to push off. Your adductors are the muscles in your inner thigh that bring your thighs back inward. These muscles activate every time you finish pushing off and bring your legs back underneath you.